How to Make Cedar Shoe Trees

Written by daisy cuinn
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How to Make Cedar Shoe Trees
The cedar tree produces an aromatic wood. (Red Cedar at Picton castle April 2008 image by David Stirrup from

Cedar shoe trees protect shoes by absorbing moisture and by holding the shape of the shoe while they are not in use, and they can stretch slightly small shoes for a perfect fit. Cedar is also an especially aromatic wood, and cedar shoe trees, which are inserted into each shoe, act as a natural deodoriser. While natural shoe trees are widely available commercially, you can custom make your own pair with some basic woodworking and carving tools. Carving takes some practice, but this project is simple enough for inexperienced carvers.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cedar wood, 2 inches thick
  • Pencil and paper
  • Ruler
  • Safety goggles
  • Band saw
  • Carving knife
  • Sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Trace each foot on a piece of paper and cut out. With a ruler, make a line just below the ball of the foot on each tracing. Draw a straight vertical line from the top of the foot to the heel, intersecting the horizontal line. Measure 1 inch on either side of the vertical line and draw two lines on either side. Cut out the patterns so that they are shaped like the tops of the feet, with 2-inch wide bars extending to the heels.

  2. 2

    Lay the patterns on the cedar and trace in pencil on the wood.

  3. 3

    Put on safety goggles and cut each piece along the pencil lines with a band saw.

  4. 4

    Carve the edges smooth with a carving knife. Make small, flat cuts with the knife to shape while holding the wood firmly with your other hand.

  5. 5

    Place the trees into a pair of shoes. If they don't slide in properly, continue to carve until they fit. Sand the shoe trees until they're smooth.

Tips and warnings

  • A jigsaw can be used instead of a band saw.
  • Keep your fingers out of the cutting path of saw and knife blades.

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